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Carly O'Brien
Jointly written by Richard Irlam and Richard Banks 30th September 2015

From stately homes to statement homes

Britain’s rich history took on a very literal meaning recently when new research from Halifax found that historic buildings – namely stately homes – seem to be associated with greater property values in the surrounding area. Labelled by the bank as the ‘Downton halo effect’, the research revealed that ‘buying a house close to one of Britain’s stately homes can cost, on average, £41,000 more than in neighbouring areas’.

As one of the region’s leading estate agents, we thought we’d look at the stately homes in our area, along with nearby properties we are marketing. We can’t scientifically say if being near a stately home has increased the value of these neighbouring properties, but we can confidently say that having such history within close reach makes for a unique charm…

1. Weston Hall, near Towcester, Northamptonshire
A 17th century stately home that inspired Sir Sacheverell Sitwell to pen his revered works, Weston Hall in Northamptonshire has been owned by the Sitwell family since 1714. According to the official website, Weston Hall is unusual in that ‘the house has mainly passed through female hands – and has a distinctly feminine feel.’1 Personal tours with its current owner, Sir George Sitwell, are available – and chances are you’ll see the 18th century library; coach house with brougham and Victorian conservatory and kitchen garden.

Less than three miles away is The Old Chapel of Helmdon, a pretty village with a rich agricultural and lacemaking history.2 The Chapel itself has been elegantly but sympathetically modernised, offering five double bedrooms, large windows and unique countryside views. The guide price is £650,000.3

2. Ascott, near Wing, Bedfordshire
Further south, not far from the thriving market town of Leighton Buzzard, is Ascott – a Rothschild-owned stately home and estate that merits a tour. Despite resembling a restored Tudor mansion, Ascott began its life as a farmhouse, perhaps as early as 1606,4 before being enlarged in 1874 and later in 1937. A visit there calls for a walk through the home’s magnificent gardens, where the topiary sundial, Chinese Dell and lily pond among many of the must-see features.5

Walk on a little further – about three miles from the estate and across the county border – and to the Buckinghamshire hamlet of Crafton. There, you’ll discover Honeysuckle Lodge, a former gatehouse to the Mentmore Towers Estate, that offers five bedrooms and a one-bedroom self-contained annexe. With a guide price of £1,500,000, Honeysuckle Lodge is an exemplary English country pile that’s less than an hour from London.6,7

3. Moggerhanger House, near Sandy, Bedfordshire
Dating from 1792 and built at that time for the Governor of the Bank of England, Moggerhanger House in Bedfordshire is ‘recognised as the most complete surviving example’ of work by the eminent architect Sir John Soane.8 A Grade I-listed Georgian building, it is set in 33 acres of parkland which include historic woodlands and an ice house9. After its early use, it became a hospital but was left to ruin and in 1995 it was bought for just £1 – a fascinating tale recounted by The Observer.

Just around the corner from Moggerhanger House is Tempsford Mill (pictured above), a unique 19th century property that features the original water wheels in the kitchen. Also of note is the first record of the nine-bedroom home – the island site is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 – with other references in Medieval records. With 6.5 acres of grounds and private fishing rights, Tempsford Mill’s current guide price is £2,695,000.

What do you think – would you pay more for a property if it is near a stately home? What historic buildings do you cherish and why? Let us know through our social channels – links below.


  3. All prices accurate as at 30 September 2015.
  6. All prices accurate as at 30 September 2015.
  7. According to National Rail Enquiries as at 10:17am 30 September 2015 a direct train journey from Leighton Buzzard [LBZ] to London Euston [EUS] leaving 7:40am Thursday 1 October 2015 will take 31 minutes to reach its destination. A National Rail timetable showing this route can be found here. Our calculations – for Crafton, Buckinghamshire, to London Euston railway station – include a 13-minute drive from Crafton to Leighton Buzzard railway station, based on Google Maps’ information, as well as car parking and the short walk to the railway platform.